2019 Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier

From BR Bullpen

The 2019 Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier determined one team for the 2020 Olympics. The second-place finisher kept some hope, as they moved on to the 2020 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament. The 2019 African Championship winner (Flag of South Africa South Africa) squared off with the top five teams from the 2019 European Championship (Flag of Italy Italy, Flag of Netherlands Netherlands, Flag of Spain Spain, Flag of Israel Israel and Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic). Israel emerged victorious.

See 2019 Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier (Rosters)

Schedule[edit]

September 18[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Czechia 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 1
Netherlands 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 X 4 8 0
Win: Yntema (1-0) Loss: Satoria (0-1) Save: Kelly (1)

The Netherlands avenged their only loss from the 2019 European Championship despite getting outhit. In the bottom of the 1st, 2B Calten Daal singled. An error on a pick-off attempt by Ondřej Satoria let Daal go to third, then CF Roger Bernadina grounded him home. Czechia tied it in the 4th with their only run in eight innings. C Martin Červenka and DH Jakub Malík singled, then 1B Petr Čech hit into a force at second. LF Martin Mužík singled in Červenka and 3B Martin Červinka had their fourth single of the inning but RF Arnošt Dubový grounded into a double play.

In the bottom of the 4th, LF Ademar Rifaela gave the Netherlands the lead for good with a solo shot, keeping up his power display from the 2019 Euros. In the 5th, they got insurance; C Hendrik Clementina doubled, DH Dwayne Kemp singled, SS John Polonius grounded into a fielder's choice at home, Daal laid down a sacrifice and Bernadina doubled in Kemp and Polonius for a 3-RBI day.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Israel 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 6 0
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
Win: Wagman (1-0) Loss: Sierra (0-1)

Israel also avenged a loss from the European Championship, having fallen to Spain 3 days earlier in the Bronze Medal Game. This time, Joey Wagman dazzled with a three-hit, no-walk shutout, fanning eight. Israel got all the runs it needed in the first. With one out, CF Blake Gailen drew a walk from Carlos Sierra and DH Danny Valencia homered to deep left. Sierra allowed only one hit from the 2nd through the 4th. In the 5th, though, Israel got three straight one-out singles from 3B Zach Penprasse, 2B Mitch Glasser and Gailen. Daniel Álvarez relieved but Valencia greeted him with a sacrifice fly for some insurance.

  • South Africa-Italy postponed due to rain in the 6th at 4-4

September 19[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Africa 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 1
Spain 0 0 0 5 0 0 1 1 X 7 12 1
Win: Hernández (1-0) Loss: Elario (0-1)

This game featured two international veterans on the hill, Ricardo Hernández for Spain and Jared Elario for South Africa. The African champs struck first, getting to Hernández in the 2nd. RF Brandon Bouillon hit into an error by SS Jhonny Bethencourt and 1B Hein Robb singled. With one out, LF Rowan Ebersohn grounded into a force at second. 2B Brett Willemburg singled in Bouillon. CF Benjamin Smith drew a walk to load the bags but SS Anthony Phillips struck out to end the threat.

Elario shut out Spain for 3 innings. In the bottom of the 4th, things unraveled. 2B Oscar Angulo singled. 1B Jesús Ustariz singled, but was thrown out trying for two, Angulo moving to third. LF Lesther Galván tied it with a single to left. DH Fernando Martínez singled as well and RF Yancarlo Franco walked. C Blake Ochoa hit a grand slam to make it 5-1. Spain got some insurance in the 7th and 8th against Derek Bayliss. In the 7th, 3B Leomartires Rodriguez doubled, CF Engel Beltre singled and after an out, Angulo hit a sacrifice fly. In the 8th, Galván went yard.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Netherlands 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 2
Israel 2 4 0 0 1 0 0 1 X 8 9 1
Win: Bleich (1-0) Loss: Markwell (0-1)

The theme of avenging losses in the European Championship continued. Israel got all the offense it would need in the first, when DH Danny Valencia drew a two-out walk from Diegomar Markwell and C Nick Rickles homered. In the top of the second, the Orange tied it when C Hendrik Clementina doubled off Jon Moscot and RF Kalian Sams doubled him in. The Israelis stormed back in the bottom of the frame, though. LF Rob Paller and 1B Benjamin Wanger both walked and RF Simon Rosenbaum bunted them over. 3B Zach Penprasse singled to load the bases, then 2B Mitch Glasser doubled in everyone for a 5-1 edge. After CF Blake Gailen walked, Markwell was yanked. Tom de Blok relieved and Valencia doubled in Glasser, but Gailen was thrown out trying to score.

In the bottom of the 5th, Israel made it 7-1. Gailen hit into an error by 2B Calten Daal and Valencia and Rickles both singled. With one out, Paller singled in Gailen but Valencia was out at home. In the bottom of the 8th, they got a final run off Tom Stuifbergen. Paller doubled and took third on a fly out by Wanger. After Rosenbaum walked, Penprasse hit a sacrifice fly.

Moscot worked four for Israel then they got shutout relief from Jeremy Bleich, DJ Sharabi and Jonathan de Marte, who allowed only one hit in five innings between them.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Czechia 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 10 0
Italy 1 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 X 5 9 1
Win: Palumbo (1-0) Loss: Chroust (0-1)

The hosts get the win, the victorious team having allowed one run in all three games today. The Czechs got ahead in the first when SS Martin Schneider doubled and advanced on grounders by CF Matěj Hejma and C Martin Červenka. While they got nine more hits, they would not score again against Angelo Palumbo, Nick Pugliese and Filippo Crepaldi. Italy tied it in the bottom of the first when 3B Drew Maggi singled off Radim Chroust, 2B Alessandro Vaglio got plunked, Maggi stole third and 1B Chris Colabello's fly scored Maggi.

In the 3rd, Italy went ahead for good with the same three hitters producing the offense - Maggi walked, Vaglio was hit again and Colabello hit a 3-run homer. In the bottom of the 5th, Maggi and Vaglio again started it off, with singles. Petr Minařík relieved Chroust and got Colabello to hit into a double play. DH Giuseppe Mazzanti singled in Maggi with his third run of the day.

September 20[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Italy 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 10 13 0
South Africa 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 1
Win: Bocchi (1-0) Loss: Erasmus (0-1)

The hosts survive a scare from South Africa. In the action that began two days prior, South Africa jumped on Alessandro Maestri from the get-go. SS Anthony Phillips, C Kyle Botha and 3B Jonathan Phillips hit three straight singles in the first. With two outs, Maestri hit RF Brandon Bouillon and 1B Hein Robb singled in two runs. Italy came back in the 2nd off Dylan Unsworth. DH Giuseppe Mazzanti, C Alberto Mineo, 2B Alessandro Vaglio, SS Gavin Cecchini and CF Federico Celli hit five singles in a row with one out to make it 3-2. RF John Andreoli hit into a run-scoring force to tie it.

In the bottom of the second, CF Benjamin Smith drew a walk from Maestri, advanced on a grounder and scored on a two-out single by Jonathan Phillips to make it 4-3. Five Italian relievers (Michael Johnson, Andrea Pizziconi, Yomel Rivera, Matteo Bocchi and Filippo Crepaldi) would shut out South Africa over the last 7 innings, though, allowing 3 hits and no walks. Italy came alongside in the 4th when Mineo took Unsworth deep. That is where things stood when the rains fell on Wednesday to suspend the game in the 6th.

When action resumed today, neither team scored for the first few innings. In the top of the 10th, though, Italy erupted. With two runners starting aboard due to the Schiller Rule, Colabello singled off Bradley Erasmus to score LF Sebastiano Poma. Mazzanti's sacrifice fly brought in 3B Drew Maggi to make it 6-4. After Mineo grounded Colabello over, Vaglio and Cecchini both singled for a 7-4 lead. Celli then swatted a three-run blast to deep center field for extra padding. Filippo Crepaldi needed only four pitches to end it, getting LF Rowan Ebersohn to hit into a game-ending triple play.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
South Africa 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 1
Czechia 0 0 0 2 4 0 0 5 11 9 0
Win: Bokaj (1-0) Loss: Lewis-Walker (0-1)

Czechia got its first win in resounding fashion. Boris Bokaj allowed only one run in seven innings, coming in the 2nd when 2B Brett Willemburg, DH Rowan Ebersohn and CF Andrew Norman hit three consecutive singles into center field. Robert Lewis-Walker contained the Europeans for the first three innings but they struck back in the bottom of the 4th. C Petr Čech doubled with one out and LF Martin Mužík walked. RF Jakub Malík flew out and both runners advanced. 1B Daniel Vavruša doubled to left to put the Czechs ahead.

Kevin Townend took over for Lewis-Walker in the 5th and SS Martin Schneider drew a walk from him. CF Matěj Hejma hit into an error by 3B Jonathan Phillips and DH Martin Červenka got plunked, loading the bases for cleanup man Čech. Čech singled in Schneider and Mužík followed with a two-run single. A wild pitch made it 6-1.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Czechs made it a mercy rule rout. 2B Jakub Hajtmar singled off Dean Jacobs. With one out, Hejma and PH Tomáš Juněc both walked. A wild pitch scored one run then Čech walked as well. Mužík hit a grand slam to make it a 6-RBI day and end it early.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Israel 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 6 0 8 7 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 5 2
Win: de Marte (1-0) Loss: Luis Lugo (0-1)

The two unbeaten teams squared off and Israel almost clinched the Olympic spot, going to 3-0 with games remaining against the bottom two teams. They took advantage of a late Italian defensive collapse to topple the hosts. Luis Lugo faced one more than the minimum through three. In the 4th, though, DH Danny Valencia drew a one-out walk and C Nick Rickles homered.

Italy challenged Gabe Cramer often, with five baserunners in 3 2/3 IP, but failed to score, before Zack Weiss relieved. In the bottom of the 5th, LF Sebastiano Poma and 2B Drew Maggi walked and 1B Chris Colabello hit a two-run single with one out to tie it for the home fans. Colabello's day would end in the 7th, though, after he was hit by a Jonathan de Marte pitch.

It was still 2-2 entering the 8th. Lugo hit 1B Benjamin Wanger. Switch-pitcher and MLB veteran Pat Venditte relieved Lugo and big RF Simon Rosenbaum bunted Wanger over. Venditte threw a wild pitch then walked 3B Zach Penprasse, the #9 hitter. 2B Mitch Glasser tried a squeeze bunt and an error on the play by 1B Giuseppe Mazzanti (replacing Colabello) made it 3-2. CF Blake Gailen flew out and the inning would have been over for not for the error. Valencia then hit into another error, by SS Gavin Cecchini. Rickles took advantage of the reprieve with a two-run single for a 4-RBI day. Venditte plunked LF Rob Paller. Michael Johnson succeeded Venditte and SS Ty Kelly greeted him with a RBI single. Wanger singled in two more to make it 8-2.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Spain 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 7 2
Netherlands 0 3 0 0 0 0 2 1 X 6 9 1
Win: Cordemans (1-0) Loss: Sacramento (0-1) Save: Sulbaran (1)

The Netherlands bounced back from their loss, easily handling Lowuin Sacramento, who had done a great job against them in the 2019 European Championship. 44-year-old Rob Cordemans, arguably the greatest Hoofdklasse pitcher ever, stymied the Spanish bats in the meantime.

The Netherlands got going in the 2nd. Sacramento hit C Hendrik Clementina and 3B Sharlon Schoop hit a one-out single. 39-year-old 1B Yurendell de Caster delivered a two-run double as the former big leaguer showed he could still swing. With two outs, SS John Polonius singled and an error on the play by 3B Leomartires Rodriguez made it 3-0.

Cordemans had allowed one hit through four. In the 5th, LF Lesther Galván and DH Fernando Martínez singled and a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez made it a two-run game. In the 7th, the Netherlands got the run back against Andrés Pérez. 2B Calten Daal singled with one out and stole before Curt Smith pinch-ran (Daal presumably being injured on the steal), CF Roger Bernadina walked, LF Ademar Rifaela was intentionally walked and Clementina singled in Daal.

In the 8th, de Caster and DH Dwayne Kemp singled off Leslie Nacar. Polonius bunted them over then Smith (who had stayed in at 1B, de Caster moving to 3B and Schoop to 2B) singled in de Caster. Lars Huijer had relieved Cordemans in the 6th and turned in three shutout innings. In the 9th, he faded. 2B Oscar Angulo hit into an error by Schoop and 1B Jesús Ustariz singled. Huijer got Galván looking but former major leaguer Martínez doubled to make it 6-2. Juan Carlos Sulbaran relieved and struck out PH Javier Monzón and got PH Edison Valerio to fly out to end it.

September 22[edit]

  • Netherlands 7, South Africa 1
  • Spain 4, Italy 3
  • Czechia 7, Israel 4

September 23[edit]

  • Israel 11, South Africa 1
  • Italy vs. Netherlands
  • Czechia vs. Spain